The next few weeks will tell us whether Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s medium-term budget was enough to keep the ratings agency wolves from the door, but I’m beginning to believe more and more that it does not matter. Don’t get me wrong, a ratings downgrade would make life for all South Africans — especially the government — a good deal more expensive and unpleasant, but there are bigger monsters in the closet that we should be worried about. The scariest of these is not the Guptas or even President Jacob Zuma but the very real possibility of prolonged and growing Russian interference in our domestic affairs. The rumours that David Mahlobo, was appointed energy minister purely so that he would push through the nuclear deal are convincing, mainly because they are perfect for the political environment, in which most folk are inclined to believe any story in which Zuma is the villain. As much as there is often an element of truth in these rumours, it is never quite as straightforward...

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